African Journalists using Social Media to find stories

Posted on May 31, 2013 09:21 am

Few days ago, a survey on social media influence on mainstream media reporting in Africa was unveiled. More than half of journalists in the continent use social media to find story ideas and data for their news reports. They also plunge into social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and less popular Google+ to gauge public opinion and monitor particular issues. According to an insider, the objective for the survey was to find out how social media influence mainstream media, and how it is affecting news production. The results of research show that social media plays an increasingly significant role in influencing public discourse. Survey found that African journalists engaged with varying degrees of enthusiasm when it comes to social media. Close to half of them participates actively in spreading information through social media networks especially in West and East Africa, while the rest occupied a more passive role, consuming and collecting information online most notable ones being Southern African countries.

Cape Town South Africa I took this Dias Statue photo several years back, has among the highest number of users in social media
Cape Town South Africa I took this Dias Statue photo several years back, has among the highest number of users in social media

The local survey also found that close to 80% of East and Southern African countries journalists use social media to build relations with new people with South Africa and Kenya on the lead. The research also found that journalists in most West African countries used social media to report breaking news because newsrooms were not well suited to share details of breaking stories quickly. Citizen journalism across Africa has been fostered by new crop of leadership advocating for Pan Africanism. In countries like Kenya and Uganda where flooding recently killed close to a hundred people, citizens highlighted their ability to report flooding news in most places which are without professional reporters. This is where citizen journalists get the advantage of uploaded pictures on social media and such is the reason why those platforms have become source of content for mainstream media. Although a majority of African journalists use social media in their daily workflow, social media is only used as a supporting tool, with majority still preferring traditional platforms as their reference.

Contador Harrison